Fresno floral designer is integral part of Valentine's Day

FRESNO, Calif.

Lou Gentile's Flower Basket is bustling with activity -- employees cutting stems and preparing the perfect arrangement that says "I love you."

Floral designer Roy Cantu is a big guy with a warm smile and personality. For 37 years, he's been an integral part of Valentine's Day for many. It all started when he was at Fresno High and the original owner, Lou Gentile, who has now passed, hired Cantu as a teenager.

"It got me out of working in the fields because that's what I was doing at the time, picking grapes, tying vines, stuff like that," said Cantu.

Cantu worked his way from the farm to working the floor of the shop and ultimately becoming a floral designer.

"By listening to Judy and Louie. Louie taught me a lot," said Cantu.

Louie passed a decade ago, and the shop pays tribute to him. Cantu says he'll never forget the man that gave him an opportunity that changed his life.

Louie's daughter Judy says Cantu is like a brother, which truly makes this a family business.

"He'll answer the phone, if he has to sweep the floor, if he has to empty a bucket, if it has to be done, it has to be done, which is another rare thing," said Judy Gentile. "He's not just a designer or a manager, he does it all, which very special. That's what makes the place run."

And every Valentine's Day, Cantu is reminded how much he loves his job and the people he works with.

"You got to love what you are doing. If you don't, go find something you want to do. And I love what I am doing, making people happy," said Cantu.

It's a love shown in every piece of work he does.

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